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The build up to the Football World Cup in Brazil has well and truly started, with the country predicted to be the 'must visit' destination of 2014. And of course the World Cup is not the only key sporting event due to take place in Brazil. It is also the proud host in waiting of the 2016 Olympic Games. This will be Olympics debut on a Latin American stage, and plans are already starting to take shape for what is predicted to be a world class event.

A nation with a vibrant character all of its own, Brazil's spectacular scenery, idiosyncratic architecture and larger-than-life locals inevitably mean that it is a fantastic holiday destination even if you are not a sports fan. It really does have something for everyone.

Thinking of Brazil instantly brings to mind iconic images such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the verdant landscape of the Amazon rainforest and never ending white sandy beaches lapped by azure seas. Brazil is also rightly famous for Carnival, which takes place February 28th – March 4th in Rio and cities across Brazil. Carnival attracts legions of people eager to enjoy the unique atmosphere, typified by wild samba dancing, bright festive floats and great food and drink.

Between March 27th and April 5th, children from all over the world will congregate in Rio for the Street world tournament, which has been set up to provide encouragement and inspiration for underprivileged children through the mediums of art and sport.

Fashionistas should head to San Paulo Fashion week, to be held in the city between March 31st and April 4th. Following hot on the heels of Paris, Milan, New York and London, this is the biggest fashion event in all of Latin America, and showcases the highlights of fashion form the region.

Culture vultures will enjoy the Paritins Folklore Festival, which runs between June 27th and 29th on an out of this world Amazon River island location. The festival attracts 40,000 people a year and is the perfect place to learn more about the fascinating Brazilian culture.

Finally, if you are a fan of New Year celebrations, you won't go far wrong heading down to Copacabana beach on New Year's Eve 2014. As the bells ring out, thousands of people leap into the sea. The aim is to jump over seven separate waves, making a wish for each one, all the while throwing flowers into the water. It's a unique way to mark the New Year in truly Brazilian style.

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